The federal government has reached an agreement with Air Canada to provide financial assistance to an airline affected by the COVID-19 in exchange for refunds to customers who canceled flights last year.
Support for the country’s largest airline comes in the form of loans, not direct financial bailouts, according to knowledgeable sources on the matter. The CBC did not name the news sources because they did not have the authority to speak publicly about the issue.
Sources said the government also has plans with other airlines to create a funding package that will allow passengers who saw flights canceled last year to withdraw their money.
Deputy Prime Minister Christiaan Freeland and Transport Minister Omar Alcabra are expected to provide details at an ET press conference at 7 p.m.
Ottawa has been in talks with airlines for months now on a package of support for the industry, which has been hit hard by massive reductions in domestic and international travel.
The government has been pressuring airlines to agree to refund customers, restore regional routes and support jobs in the industry.
In March, CBC News reported that the price index for a package could reach between $ 7 billion and $ 9 billion for all major airlines in the country.
Jerry Diaz is the national president of Unifor, which represents about 15,000 workers in the aviation industry. He said the government would focus on the possibility of repaying the $ 7 billion loan by airlines at 10 percent interest in 10 years – but the final package would be significantly larger.
Sources told the CBC News at the time that WestJet was pushing the federal government during talks to prioritize a plan to safely resume flights.
Lots to come …